Sunday, July 29, 2007


The Grand Canyon is no doubt one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. It even inspired British artist David Hockney to do a large-scale modular mural of this subject in very attractive colors. In the same light the Hong Kong's skyscrapers and modern buildings, for one, viewed from a certain elevation also look somewhat like a spectacular canyon. This time it is man made, manicured and glossy. Hong Kong for example, like other cities of the first world, is famous as a playground of architects.

Like the Grand Canyon, these modern cities and their structures could be equally considered a place of danger to some, especially to foreign workers, who endure being away from home and family just to find greener pastures. But with increasing pollution causing greyer skies and where the grey areas about morality are taking their toll on people's lives these places inevitably become quagmires to others.

While experiencing the changing perceptions over the years, in the minds of foreign workers these extraordinary sites came to symbolize hope (as people are able to send much needed financial aid back home) and despair (as harsh realities of foreign city life finally revealed its evil face to them) depending on their experiences while living there.

Using phonecards to depict a modern but crowded city skyline, which is clearly recognizable from a certain distance, underscores the gravity of how foreign workers were forced by circumstances to work abroad and how they value their families back home. (Joel E. Ferraris)

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